Ransomware attacks are costing companies millions of pounds, so taking steps to protect customers and users from these threats is essential, according to Bob Violino, writing for cybersecurity software publisher Bitdefender.

As noted in Bitdefender’s Mid-Year Threat Landscape Report 2020, the total number of ransomware reports increased by 715% globally year over year. The study said pandemic-related incidents had a big impact, and similar threat levels are expected for this year," Violino says.

Bad actors are likely encouraged by the number of successful attacks and will be looking for increasingly sophisticated ways to penetrate corporate systems, he says, with major ransomware attacks on both private and public sector organisations being reported in the news almost every day.

"The costs of ransomware attacks are significant. Chainalysis, a blockchain analysis company, said the total amount paid by ransomware victims increased by 311% in 2020 compared with the previous year, to reach nearly $350 million in worth," says Violino.

More organisations should take steps today to protect themselves -- strengthening the overall security posture with stronger access controls such as strong endpoint protection, two-factor authentication, employee training, and data backups.

Bitdefender's top tips for fighting ransomware

1) Deploying multi-layered endpoint protection with anti-ransomware capabilities that can disrupt the whole attack chain -- because ransomware entry points vary.

2) Improving overall cybersecurity posture by reassessing user access mechanisms -- recent investigations revealed a lack of two-factor authentication and strong passwords.

3) Regularly backing up all important systems and data, including offline, and anything required for a quick recovery in the event of cyberattack -- at least once a day.

4) Training employees and executives alike in good security practice -- including the signs of phishing, malware, how to use cyber security tools, and knowing how to avoid accidentally launching cyberattacks -- especially if working remotely or at home using less secure devices and networks.

"Senior executives are often among the most popular targets for attackers, because of their privileged access rights and the likelihood that they possess valuable information that can help cyber criminals," says Violino.

( Photo by FLY:D on Unsplash )